Skip to main content

Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

See other formats


institution—the orderly sequence of classes, the division of
classes into groups of ten, the annual ceremony of promotion,
the preparatory character of the instruction given in the Schola
Privata, or gymnasium, leading up to the higher courses in
theology, law, etc., of the Schola Publica. There were some
differences in the gymnasial course. Instead of ten classes, there
were only seven. In the four lowest classes the pupils learned
to read and write French as well as Latin, an addition characteristic
of the more democratic spirit of Genevan life. Most notable of
all was the smaller importance attached to Cicero, and the absence
of the rhetorical interest which was predominant in the Strassburg
regime. Under the capable headship of Theodore de Beza, the
first rector, the new school (variously named " academy,"
" college," " university ") had an immediate success. At the time
of Calvin's death ten years later, there were 1,200 pupils in the
Private School and 300 in the Public. He had lived to see this
crown put on his work.

The educational principles of Geneva spread through all the
lands where the ecclesiastical polity and doctrines of Calvin
found adherents. The Huguenots in France, the Reformed
Church in Holland, the Puritans in England, the Presbyterians
in Scotland, all followed in different ways and with varying
success the school and university system of the little Swiss city,
and through them Calvinism became as mighty a force in edu-
cation as in religion. Even in those countries where it failed to
establish a position of predominance in Church and State, it
still affected profoundly the course of educational development.
In France, there sprang up under Huguenot auspices not only
a great number of elementary schools, but thirty-two colleges and
eight universities, the latter of which took for a time a foremost
place among the universities of Europe. In England, in spite
of the opposition of the Anglican Church, Puritanism was the
controlling power in both Oxford and Cambridge in the last
years of Elizabeth's reign; and even after it lost this superiority,
it continued and still continues to be a force to be reckoned with
in the whole educational life of the people.

It was in Scotland, however, where the Calvinistic system
was more completely accepted than in any other country, that
the Genevan ideals in education were most fully realized. John
Knox (1505-1572), the leader of the Scottish Reformation, had